EasyJet cancelled more than 200 flights over the weekend with disruption expected to last into this week, leaving some passengers stranded amid travel chaos at some of Britain’s biggest airports.
The airline blamed the problems on high levels of sickness among employees caused by Covid, with at least 222 trips axed since Friday.
It said it had made efforts to offset staff shortages by rostering additional standby crew on the weekend but was forced to make “additional cancellations for [Sunday] and [Monday]”.
A total of 62 flights scheduled for Monday have been pulled, most of which were announced at short notice on Saturday.
An easyJet spokesperson said: “As a result of the current high rates of Covid infections across Europe, like all businesses easyJet is experiencing higher than usual levels of employee sickness.
“We have made 62 pre-emptive cancellations for flights to and from the UK for [Monday] which represents a small proportion of [Monday’s] total flying programme which was planned to be more than 1,645 flights. We cancelled the majority of these [on Saturday].”
It was later confirmed to the PA news agency that at least 222 flights were cancelled across Saturday and Sunday.
Some holidaymakers reported being stuck abroad with no explanation or alternative route home offered by the airline.
It comes after passengers were stuck in long queues at Heathrow airport on Sunday morning as the Easter holidays got under way.
The airport attributed the congestion to Covid checks required by destination countries and “high passenger volumes”.
But there were also reports of staff shortages and problems with the e-gate passport checkpoints as travellers took to social media to air their frustrations, with some saying they had waited hours to take off.
Other travellers said several of the automatic e-gates, staffed by Border Force and used to process passengers, were not operating properly.